An inside-painted glass 'cranes' snuff bottle Ye family, the Apricot Grove Studio, Chongwen district, Beijing, dated 1930
Lot 30
An inside-painted glass 'cranes' snuff bottle Ye family, the Apricot Grove Studio, Chongwen district, Beijing, dated 1930
Sold for HK$ 112,500 (US$ 14,515) inc. premium
Auction Details
An inside-painted glass 'cranes' snuff bottle Ye family, the Apricot Grove Studio, Chongwen district, Beijing, dated 1930 An inside-painted glass 'cranes' snuff bottle Ye family, the Apricot Grove Studio, Chongwen district, Beijing, dated 1930 An inside-painted glass 'cranes' snuff bottle Ye family, the Apricot Grove Studio, Chongwen district, Beijing, dated 1930 An inside-painted glass 'cranes' snuff bottle Ye family, the Apricot Grove Studio, Chongwen district, Beijing, dated 1930 An inside-painted glass 'cranes' snuff bottle Ye family, the Apricot Grove Studio, Chongwen district, Beijing, dated 1930
Lot Details
An inside-painted glass 'cranes' snuff bottle
Ye family, the Apricot Grove Studio, Chongwen district, Beijing, dated 1930
Sold with accompanying watercolour by Peter Suart
6.6cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 4, no. 652

    玻璃內畫百鶴圖鼻煙壺
    葉氏家族,北京祟文區杏仁齋,1930年作

    An inside-painted glass 'cranes' snuff bottle

    Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a slightly concave lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim; painted with a continuous composition of eight cranes with a mature pine tree, a grass-covered rocky outcrop with lingzhi growing at its base and a distant landscape with a river and waterfalls running through rolling hills beneath clouds, beyond which distant peaks are visible, inscribed in draft script, 'Executed by Ye Zhongsan in the second month of the year gengwu', with one seal of the artist, yin ('seal'), in negative seal script
    Ye family, the Apricot Grove Studio, Chongwen district, Beijing, second month, 1930
    Height: 6.6 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.7/1.89 cm
    Stopper: amethyst, garnet finial; vinyl collar
    Illustration: watercolour by Peter Suart

    Condition: Bottle: two miniscule, insignificant nibbles to the footrim polished out on one edge. Painting: studio condition

    Provenance:
    C.F. Turner
    Sotheby's, London, 28 October 1970, lot 64
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd.
    Joan Wasserman
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd.
    Private French collection
    Drouot (Millon-Jutheau), Paris, 6 November 1983, lot 58
    Robert Hall (1984)

    Published:
    JICSBS, Autumn 1984, p. 74, figs. 215 and 215a
    Kleiner 1987, no. 280
    Treasury 4, no. 652

    Exhibited:
    Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto, October 1983
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
    Christie's, London, '999

    This is one of the Ye family's most compelling late masterpieces. It comes as a surprise so late in a career full of repetitious subject matter, since it is a unique subject and composition. The style is entirely borrowed from Zhou Leyuan, as was so much of Ye's landscape style, and the debt is clear to see. Here we have the same lofty view from a rocky promontory with a mature pine and peonies growing alongside lingzhi, which allows us to look down upon a distant landscape as we did in Zhou's works, Sale 2, lot 41, and Sale 2, lot 66, but instead of a single crane, Ye has painted eight, an unusual and perhaps unlikely number. Given the auspicious nature of the number nine it is perhaps surprising that Ye didn't add one more, but there must have been some significance in the number eight. It may be that eight (ba) cranes (he) is a rebus for the term bahe, which signifies the concept of peace and harmony throughout the country. He means harmony, and ba, or eight, stands for bafang, or eight directions, the eight points of the compass (north, south, west, east, northeast, southeast, northwest, and southwest).

    Painting so many birds forced Ye to be more inventive than he usually was, and the result is spectacular. The cranes, each in its starkly contrasted opaque white colour with detailing in black and red, are superbly composed around the body of the bottle like the characters in a fine calligraphic work, each powerful in its own right, but each comfortably balanced formally with all the others. The opaque colouring of the cranes is cleverly contrasted against the translucency of the other colours and ink washes, and it is one of the features that make this painting so successful, quite apart from its obvious impact as a fresh and powerful subject. It is also in studio condition, which adds enormously to its appeal, since the white is so easily damaged that it might have suffered the same fate as so many other inside-painted bottles with a heavy reliance on white pigment.

    We have been commenting as if Ye himself painted this bottle, but of course, while we would like to believe that a masterpiece of this sort must have come from the hands of the master, there is no evidence to support this and some to suggest quite the opposite. When Ye Bengqi was shown hundreds of photographs of family works by Moss in early 1974 in order to try to distinguish his works from those of his brothers and his father, he made it quite clear that works in Zhou Leyuan's style were also a speciality of his elder brother Ye Xiaofeng, and that he might have painted a bottle such as this. Whoever painted it, it is one of the great masterpieces from the family years, and stands as one of the most impressive bottles ever produced by any of them, including the early Ye Zhongsan.

    玻璃內畫百鶴圖鼻煙壺

    玻璃,墨,水彩;微凹唇,凸斂底,突出圈足,圈足底為一圓棱;內畫松鶴延年通體圖 ,題曰"庚午杏月,葉仲三作", 後落白文"印"一篆印
    葉氏家族,北京崇文區杏林齋,1930年2月
    高﹕ 6.6 厘米
    口經/唇經: 0.7/1.89 厘米
    蓋: 紫晶,石榴石頂飾;乙烯基座
    帶有彼德小話 (Peter Suart) 水彩畫

    狀態敘述:壺﹕圈足一邊有磨平的兩道微不足道的咬痕。巾畫﹕出齋狀態

    來源﹕
    C.F. Turner
    倫敦蘇富比,1970年10月28日,拍賣品號64
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd.
    Joan Wasserman
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd.
    法國藏家
    Drouot (Millon-Jutheau), Paris, 6 November 1983, 拍賣品號58
    羅伯特.霍爾 (1984)

    文獻﹕
    《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》, 1984年秋期,頁 74, 圖215 及 215a
    Kleiner 1987, 編號280
    Treasury 4, 編號652

    展覽﹕
    Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto, October 1983
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
    倫敦佳士得,'999

    說明﹕
    這是葉氏晚期的引人入勝的傑作,不是老套的題材, 布局也是新的。畫的風格是從周樂元借來的, 看第二場拍賣會,拍賣品號 41及 第二場拍賣會,拍賣品號66, 就一清二楚。
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